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Re: MAME emulator is giving incentive to use non-free software

From: Ludovic Courtès
Subject: Re: MAME emulator is giving incentive to use non-free software
Date: Tue, 29 Mar 2016 15:14:32 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/24.5 (gnu/linux)

Jean Louis <address@hidden> skribis:

> Please see what I mean:
> The problem may arise from Nintendo, as they are owner of the
> trademark.
> For your understanding:
> - I cannot just take your package definition and copy it on my website,
>   because it includes trademark, it is simply not free description of
>   the package. It asks for problems in future, with Nintendo. 
> - I cannot sell the package or that software, neither provide support,
>   in that shape or form, with the trademark Nintendo® because I don't
>   have permission for that.
> - a software definition cannot be just made up with trademarks,
>   especially not with well known trademarks, and claimed to be GPL
>   licensed
> - software using trademarks within the source is also questionable.

I respectfully think that this interpretation is incorrect.

GPL software is certainly free, trademark or not.

The FSDG item linked above is implicitly concerned with trademarks that
relate to the name of the software package, as is the case with Firefox
and (apparently) MAME.  These are free software packages, but we may not
be allowed to distribute them under these names.  We still get the 4
freedoms, obviously, as long as changing the name is trivial (for
instance Firefox has a ‘configure’ switch for that.)

IIUC, the Nintendo emulators we’re talking about mention “Nintendo” in
their synopsis, but that is most likely a legitimate use of the
trademark—just like mentions of “Intel”, the “X Window System”, etc.

IMO, a valid reason why we could discuss exclusion of these packages is
if they do not have any other use than playing non-free games.  I guess
this is an important use case, but I don’t know if it’s the only one.



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